Col. Frank B. James
Col. Frank B. James
15 May 1943 to 06 February 1944
|Known Mission List||
|Score Detail||31 December 1943 FW-190 destroyed (air) Niort|
|Notes||Lt. Col. Frank James was the 55th Fighter Group's first
wartime commander and led the group on its first combat mission, a fighter
sweep over the Dutch islands on 15th October 1943
15 May 1943 - Joined the 55th Fighter Group
18 November 1943 - Appointed Colonel.
29 November 1943 - Awarded the Air Medal
06 February 1944 - Transferred to Hq. VIII Fighter Command
Known as 'the old man' when commanding the 55th Fighter Group.
|Memories||Frank B. James was born in Delavin, Wis., on 21st March
1912. He graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles in
1937 with a bachelor of arts degree and, in June of that year, entered the
Army Air Corps Primary Flying School at Randolph, Field, Texas. He
graduated from the Advanced Flying School at Kelly in June 1938, winning
his pilot's wings and second lieutenant's commission.
His first duty assignment was at Barksdale Field, La., with the 79th Pursuit Squadron, 20th Pursuit Group. In 1941, First Lieutenant James became commander of the 50th Fighter Squadron, 14th Fighter Group, at Hamilton Field. He served as commander of that unit in various locations in California and attained the grade of major before his reassignment from the unit. From June 1942 until May 1943, he served in staff positions with the IV Fighter Command in the San Francisco-Oakland Bay area.
In May 1943, following his promotion to lieutenant colonel, he assumed command of the 55th Fighter Group at McChord Field, Wash. He accompanied the 55th Fighter Group to the United Kingdom, where he participated in the European Aerial Campaign.
In November 1943, he was promoted to grade of colonel and, in March 1944, became chief of combat operations, Headquarters VIII Fighter Command, 8th Air Force. During this period, he was awarded the Legion of Merit for his successful planning and execution of Fighter Combat tactics against the Luftwaffe.
From October 1944 to January 1945, Colonel James served as director of fighters, Headquarters 8th Air Force, United Kingdom, and in January of that year he became director of operations in the same headquarters.
In August 1945, Colonel James returned to the United States to assume the position of commanding officer, McChord Field, Wash.
In October 1956, Colonel James was appointed U.S. air attaché, U.S. Embassy, London. He was promoted to the grade of brigadier general in November 1956. He returned to the U.S. from England in June 1959.
Brigadier General James retired on 1st June 1968 and passed away on 9th December 2004. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Col. Frank B. James (A. Smith)
Col. Frank B. James (F. Birtciel)
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